Higher Education Quick Takes
President Obama on Friday nominated Jim Yong Kim, president of Dartmouth College, as the next president of the World Bank. In a statement, Kim said: "When I assumed the presidency of Dartmouth, I did so with the full and deep belief that the mission of higher education is to prepare us for lives of leadership and service in our professions and communities. While President Obama's call is compelling, the prospect of leaving Dartmouth at this stage is very difficult. Nevertheless, should the World Bank's Board of Executive Directors elect me as the next president, I will embrace the responsibility." Kim is one of several nominees from which the World Bank's board may choose.
When Kim was selected as president of Dartmouth, his career had been focused on public health. He had been chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard University, and previously had led the World Health Organization's HIV/AIDS program. While Asian-American students and faculty members have made notable strides in American higher education, there are relatively few Asian-American presidents, and so Kim's selection by a college as prominent as Dartmouth was viewed as historic -- and cheered nationally by Asian-American activists.
A student at Florida Atlantic University was physically removed from a class and then tased when she refused to get into a police car, following an in-class outburst that included expletives and statements about hurting people. The incident in class was filmed and posted to YouTube. (Warning: the video contains graphic language.)
A police report on the incident said that the student, a black female, started yelling at the instructor in class, saying things such as "white people suck, Jewish people who think this world is theirs which is not, I will fucking kill you at the Holocaust events all over the world." Many of her remarks involved racial slurs, and she called various people "sand niggers" and "white niggers." The police report said that a Taser was used on her when she refused to get into a police car.
The university released a statement from Charles Brown, vice president of student affairs. "In order to provide for the safety of all concerned, the student had to be physically removed from the classroom by two FAU employees. The FAU Police Department escorted the student off of campus property and transported her to a local hospital.... In light of today’s information, the dean of students is taking immediate action regarding this student." A university spokeswoman, citing confidentiality requirements, declined to say what action was taken.
Postdoctoral researchers at the University of Massachusetts have overwhelmingly ratified their first contract, with raises and new benefits. The postdocs will gain a 2 percent increase in wages immediately, another 2 percent in September, with 3 percent increases the following two years. Benefits in the new contract include partial reimbursement for child care expenses, paid holidays and sick time equivalent to those offered other employees. In addition, all of those in the bargaining unit will now have health coverage. Prior to the agreement, only about half of the postdocs were covered by the university, according to the union, which is affiliated with the United Auto Workers.
Sixty-eight percent of colleges allow students unlimited access to residential networks, and more than 62 percent do not monitor bandwidth consumption, according to the first annual survey of the issue by the Association for Information Communications Technology Professional in Higher Education. The survey also found that early 50 percent of IT departments do not recover the cost of supplying bandwidth to residential networks, and nearly 60 percent of institutions cite a total capacity below the 500 Mbps threshold.
The University of Maine System has suspended all discretionary pay increases amid criticism over raises awarded to 44 employees at the University of Southern Maine during a tight budget year, The Bangor Daily News reported. The system will conduct a review of salary increases at all campuses.
Kaeden Kass is angry that Miami University in Ohio will not let him work as a resident assistant in a men's dormitory, WLWT News reported. Kass identifies as a man, but he was born a woman. The university offered him a position as an R.A. in a women's suite, but he has rejected that, saying it reflects a bias against him as a transgendered student. A university spokeswoman declined to comment on Kass, citing confidentiality requirements. But the spokeswoman noted that the university does offer some gender-neutral housing for transgender students or others who may want the option.
Chicago State University can't find $3.8 million in equipment, including more than 900 computers that might contain confidential information, a state auditor has found, the Associated Press reported. Other problems identified by the audit include issues with the way scholarships were awarded, poor oversight of contracts and overspending of a federal grant. In recent years, the university has been widely criticized for its management, particularly under its former president. The university issued a statement pledging its continued work to fix problems, and noting that the number of issues identified by the auditor this year was 34, down from last year's 41.
Susan Aldridge is resigning as president of University of Maryland University College -- but isn't explaining (nor is the University System of Maryland) why she was placed on leave last month. UMUC is among the more successful distance education institutions in the country, so Aldridge's departure has prompted widespread curiosity. In an interview, William E. Kirwan, chancellor of the system, said that Maryland law barred him from discussing anything in any employee's personnel record. But Kirwan seemed anxious to rebut reports that her departure might be linked to a complaint filed with the legislative auditor, or due to frustrations of UMUC faculty members in Asia. Kirwan said that he hasn't even seen the complaint filed with the auditor, and that some changes were made a while ago to deal with some concerns of the professors in Asia.
He also said that he supported recent changes to move UMUC away from a traditional semester calendar, and that he did not see major changes ahead in the educational philosophy of the university. "I think it has a unique role to play, and it is much admired around the country," he said. "Most states would like to have an institution like it."
Josef Dobes, the controversial education minister in the Czech Republic, is stepping down, Radio Prague reported. Dobes said he was leaving to protest budget cuts to his agency. Many students and academics in the country criticized his tenure in office, and particularly his plan to impose tuition at universities.